2012-06-13 - Of Spelling Bees and Hope
As a veteran and two-time winner of Spelling Bees, I understand the pressures of studying countless words for hours each day, hoping you don't get one that you've never seen. I know that in my elementary school years, the Spelling Bees were my "pride and joy," which made up for the fact that as a non-athletic type "girly girl," I would always be the last chosen for the volleyball team. Simply put, being in and winning the Spelling Bee was the most important thing in school, to this "word nerd." However, I also knew that when all was said and done, it was "just a spelling bee."
My husband and I are avid watchers of the now-televised national bees, and we "sweat bullets" and bite fingernails along with the students and their supporters. And I think that it's very important to provide academic challenges along with the sports offered in schools - so that all children's gifts and work will be encouraged, developed and rewarded - and not only those of the athletes. God gifts everyone differently, no skills are superior to any others, and it's amazing to hear the children spell words that most people haven't even heard of.
But I was very taken aback, and saddened, to hear one finalist - who didn't win - saying "I'm just a has-been." Those were stunning words to hear from a highly intelligent, motivated, hardworking and obviously gifted child. Isn't it nice to know that no one is a "has-been" in God's eyes? No matter our age, no matter the long string of sins we have committed, if we sincerely repent (whose definition includes turning our lives around, not just mouthing words), God can and will "make something out of us." He made a church leader and Biblical scribe out of a genocidal murderer. He made a charismatic evangelist out of a former gang leader (Nicky Cruz), and he can make something new out of each one of us. In fact, as Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us (I recommend that you read it), every day is new for us. There's always hope with God; we'll never be "has-beens."